Monday, August 3, 2009

The Italian Steed Does Not Prefer The Local Jockey

With BMW’s departure, Robert Kubica is now rumored to take a Ferrari seat in 2010. Ferrari, however, has yet again been adamantly firm with both their current drivers’ involvement for the next season. With Felipe Massa’s freak accident and a possible open seat, there was a lot of speculation as to who would take the vacancy. The role has been eventually given to a seven time world champion for the remainder of the season al least.

The obvious choice for most pundits was Marc Gene. Gene, 35, is the 2009 Le Mans 24hr winner in the LMP1 class. Gene has had quite a few race experiences as well, at least compared with Ferrari’s designated test driver Luca Badoer. Since 2000, Gene has been involved with forty five races. Badoer, 38, on the other hand, has not raced at any major level except for some karting in 2007 and 2008.

Gene would have been an appropriate choice though. He would have made Kimi Raikkonen look better as Gene has not had a Formula 1 drive since 2004 (in a Williams) and in the last nine years has raced just thrice. Even Ferrari would have had another reason for a poor season. But conversely, the Le Mans winner may have been in form. We will never know.

Ferrari’s Italian connection
Luca Badoer, an Italian, and his predecessors have met with only some success in Formula 1. Current Italians Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella have four wins in 436 races among them. Fisichella has never hid his desire to drive for Ferrari, which was one of the reasons why he joined Sauber from Jordan in 2004. His move to the Swiss team was the closest he got to the Prancing Horse as they used Ferrari engines back then. In fact, Fisichella and Massa were racing for a seat for Ferrari if Ruebens Barrichello chose to retire in 2005.

In recent history, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Gianmaria Bruni and Giorgio Pantano came and went. Alessandro Zanardi was better known in Champ Car and now in WTCC. Andrea Montermini is better known for his 1994 crash in a practice session in Spain. Gabriele Tarquini has met success in Touring Cars rather than Formula 1. Pierluigi Martini had a career spanned with the fledgling Minardi team. Andrea de Cesaris, Riccardo Patrese and Alessandro Nannini formed a consistent mid-field in the 80’s. None of them in a Ferrari though.

Three Italian drivers have represented Ferrari since 1981. Nicola Larini, Ivan Capelli and Michele Alboreto. Larini and Capelli had eighteen races among them with nine frugal points. Michele Alboreto handed Ferrari three race wins in 1984 and 1985 but his career with the team rolled downhill after that.

Between 1968 and 1973, there was no representation from Italy in Formula 1. In all eight seasons have seen a grid without an Italian driver. The 50’s and 60’s saw thirteen Italian drivers in their nation’s car, of which eight saw the finish line first at least once. Alberto Ascari was the only Italian to win the championship in a Ferrari.

Just to wind up the Italian statistic, forty drivers have done their laps in a Formula 1 race with the win ratio dwindling with passing years.

In April this year, the top three drivers from the Italian Formula 3 series (Edoardo Piscopo, Salvatore Cicatelli and Mirko Bortolotti) were invited by Ferrari for a day of testing. Has the grooming begun?

Maybe Valentino Rossi should reconsider.

From Top: Felipe Massa, Micheal Schumacher, Marc Gene and Luca Badoer during Ferrari Day at Monza on October 29, 2006


  1. wonderful blog dude. love the quality and the effort you must have put in.

  2. kubica no... but vettel yes. I'd definitely love to see him in one of those scarlets

  3. Great blog mate.i like it.u r doing a great job.well i want alonso to sit in ferrari in 2010 but yes kubica can get a seat too.


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